VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II´s general-audience meditation focused on the prayer of a humiliated woman which reflects God´s love of life and predilection for the poor.
The Pope dedicated the general audience, attended by 15,000 people, to meditate on the Canticle of Anna, mother of the prophet Samuel.
That sterile woman was regarded by her society as “a dead branch” because she impeded her husband from having continuity in the memory of successive generations, “an important fact in what was still an uncertain and nebulous vision of the hereafter,” the Holy Father explained.
Continuing his yearlong series of meditations on the Psalms and Old Testament canticles, the Pope noted God´s response to the mother who had wept bitterly: He gave her a son, Samuel.
Full of joy, Anna intoned a poetic canticle that describes the work of God with feminine sensibility. The author of life, who alters human destinies, humbles the mighty and exalts the lowly — concepts that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, would evoke in her Magnificat.
Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter´s Square, the Holy Father proposed the invocation that appears in the First Book of Samuel (2:1-5) as “a profession of faith expressed by the two mothers before the Lord of history, who arrays himself to defend the last, the poor and unhappy, the offended and humiliated.”
A woman´s eyes enable one to understand better how God “is at the root of life and death,” the Pontiff continued. “Anna´s sterile womb was like a tomb; yet God was able to make life spring.”
This hope is not only valid for the life of the child that is born, “but also that [life] which God can bring back after death.”
The papal meditation ended with a passage from the prophet Isaiah: “But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise; awake and sing, you who lie in the dust. For your dew is a dew of light, and the land of shades gives birth.”